Actually buna demeneata for all you Americans! It’s my first p-day in the country and I thought I would wait till the break of dawn to email you guys just so you might have the chance to email me back!
Traveling was pretty easy! I’ve done this before but the whole group was pretty uptight and nobody was having fun. We finally arrived in Romania at 1:05 PM Bucharest time and the first thing we did was go to President and Sister Hill’s home to meet them. They have a sweet house with a great setup; a pretty good life here on the mission! They fed us and we then went to our temporary housing for the night. It’s called Nosching, so instead of going right to your area and starting the work, President needs time to decide where to send you so we go to temporary housing with your Nosch parents which just means some random Bucharest missionary’s apartment.
The next day we went back to the mission home and then went contacting for the first time which was pretty hard. The missionary I went with (not my trainer) said that I had guts because even though I won’t say a single word correctly, I will just walk up and start speaking to people. They usually respond and I would just look at him for help. I can’t speak a lick of this language! That’s alright though, I’m ok with looking dumb for a while until I understand the language. After an hour or two, we went back to the mission home to finally find out who our trainers were.
I will be serving right here in Bucharest with Elder Jacob Barclay. He is a super chill, huge guy from Idaho! He plans on playing football for Utah State next season so keep an eye out for him! I’m in the northern part of Buch called Aviatile (google search "Piata Victorilor" and that will be close to my apartment). This area includes the mission office and mission home which means President attends church with us every week. Oh, funny thing about the church, it’s a members home. We are the only Bucharest area without a building. The meeting is the only one held in English as well so you can imagine how much Romanian I’m learning - none! The members are the Bensons and they’re from America! They are working at the United States Embassy. They fed us Thanksgiving Dinner which was the best food I’ve had yet! (not better than mom's though). The area is pretty lame when it comes to church attendance as we had about five native Romanians at church and they all spoke English. The rest of us are here on missions or working for the embassy!
In Romania, December 1st is their day of independence or some jazz; their version of the fourth of July! It was nuts! Everybody and their dog was on the streets yesterday and yes, dogs are always on the streets. Everyone was carrying flags and singing patriotic songs that I couldn’t understand! We went contacting again! I’ll tell you, when I contact I get rejected every time which becomes pretty fun. The most common rejection is "stiu, stiu" with a waving hand which means "I know, I know.” Good thing I am used to rejection from all the girls at school or else this would be discouraging! Ziua de Romania "day of Romania" is nuts though! You wouldn’t believe all the flags that were out and about on the streets. These people love and hate their country so much! If that makes any sense at all. We did a tour of the Arch de Triumph which was pretty sweet!
Here is a funny story . . . so it was my first day with Elder Barclay and we went to grab a Soarma the first night to eat. A Soarma is actually pretty good and a missionary favorite! It’s tortilla wrap type thing with potatoes, lettuce, chicken, spicy sauce, and all other good stuff. You can literally buy one on every corner! The place we went to is actually pretty nice and commercialized. So we sat down and start eating. I’ve taken 5 or 6 bites and I’m loving this thing! . . . Mom skip to the next paragraph . . . so I’m still eating it . . . Mom seriously, skip over this part . . . I look down to take another bite and out of my lettuce crawls a little maggot looking thing - Right on to my hand! I start laughing and ask Barclay if this is normal! All the other Elders start freaking out and are getting grossed out over this little bug but Barclay looks at me and says "ya that's not normal, but keep eating around it" everyone else freaked out and told me to stop! I took the maggot out and set it on my napkin. I figured, if I’d already had eaten half of this thing I would already have eaten a maggot or two. So I took a few more bites until I was full. Talk about a crazy first Romanian meal in the country! I haven’t eaten a Soarma since then. Can’t decide if I want to or not.
A few things I’ve noticed in the country - People stink! They stink way freaking bad! The metro and bus' are so gross but you kind’a get used to it. Nobody is overweight, probably because they spend all their money on alcohol and cigarettes. Just today some 14 year old kid whipped out a cig and started puffin right in my face – This isn’t Kansas anymore Dorothy! I guess I will just get this over with and say, YES, the women here are way attractive! I would even say better than home! Don’t worry Dad, I’m not going to do anything stupid like kiss a girl ... but I’m not going to lie and say that they are ugly – because they’re not!
Language is so far from what I thought it was. They speak so fast here and the accent is nuts. What’s nice though is the people never correct me, they just ask where I’m from and how long I’ve been here. Elder Barclay corrects me though just so I can learn. I wish I spoke the language more often though but really only speak it for maybe 3 or 4 hours out of the day and then English again because a ton of people speak English. It’s funny, people here are so proud if they can speak English. You will be contacting someone and they will say "if you want, I speak English good" using the most broken English you have ever heard. I always want say "no, please speak Romanian so I can learn.”
Elder Barclay and I set up all the Christmas stuff and have our presents under the tree. Our sucky gross apartment looks like the north-pole and it’s pretty awesome! Elder Barclay cooks pretty well and is always the first one in the kitchen stirring something up for us so that’s pretty nice.
It might seem like I don’t have any stories but that’s about it! If you are wondering what else I’ve done since I’ve been here it is eat, sleep, get rejected, study and repeat – haha!
Enjoy the pictures and I love you guys!
Elder Keegan Brown